Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Agile, Lean ... wait a moment!

image_agile_plant.jpgOk, I am just repeating what others said before (as usual)... here, here and here.

For some time I was watching the real cool guys advancing beyond Agile ... the next cool thing promised to be Lean.

I was just nodding my head, thinking "bummer, I did not even really grasp Agile yet, and those guys are already over the next hill ... I have to hurry to keep up!".

But then the famous sentence "Hold it!" (remember 12 Monkeys?) was thrown at me in surprise:

Lean and Agile: Marriage Made in Heaven or Oxymoron?

Wait... did I not preach myself that the Software Factory Analogy fails? ... why did I not realize, that the manufacturing approach that Lean pursues is basically the Factory Analogy that is totally contradictory to my understanding of software creation?

Reading the article felt like scales falling from my eyes...

I actually like the analogy of software creation and theory building (originally by Peter Naur): The actual software is just a byproduct of the process of building an understanding of a given domain. When you look at any formula in exact science, e.g. Einsteins Mass–energy equivalence, the first thing that comes to mind is a simple formula...

Looking from a Lean perspective, this fromula would be the only valuable thing. Every thing else is waste... but who does really understand the formula? Isn't the theory behind the formula the real value. Isn't the formula alone pretty useless without the context and the insights that were gained by developing it?

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